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The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has announced the selection of 19 exemplary scholars as 2021 AERA Fellows. AERA Fellows are selected on the basis of their distinguished and sustained research achievements.

The 2021 Fellows, listed below, were nominated by their peers, selected by the Fellows Committee, and approved by the AERA Council, the association’s elected governing body. They will be inducted in September during a virtual ceremony. They join 676 current AERA Fellows.

“We are delighted to honor these highly accomplished scholars for their contributions to education research and their commitment to the field,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “AERA Fellows demonstrate the highest standards of excellence. We welcome the class of 2021 to these prestigious ranks.”

  • Peter P. Afflerbach, University of Maryland
  • Michael Bastedo, University of Michigan
  • Jerome V. D’Agostino, Ohio State University
  • Amanda L. Datnow, University of California, San Diego
  • Adrienne D. Dixson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Diana H.J.M. Dolmans, Maastricht University
  • Sibel Erduran, University of Oxford
  • Kenneth A. Frank, Michigan State University
  • Jason A. Grissom, Vanderbilt University
  • Stacey J. Lee, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Kofi Lomotey, Western Carolina University
  • James L. Moore III, Ohio State University
  • Paul L. Morgan, Pennsylvania State University
  • Marjorie Elaine Faulstich Orellana, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Laurence Parker, University of Utah
  • Brian J. Reiser, Northwestern University
  • Jennifer King Rice, University of Maryland
  • Matthias von Davier, Boston College
  • Zhiliang Ying, Columbia University 

Dr Gillian West spoke about the NELI (the Nuffield Early Language Intervention) trial on and how NELI and the LanguageScreen app are supporting children’s language development on the Education Endowment Foundation (EFF) podcast ‘Evidence into Action’.

NELI is a programme for children 4-5 years old which has been found to improve early literacy skills and language. The trial has been hugely effective, and NELI has been rolled out into over 6500 schools in the UK. The LanguageScreen app, developed by the NELI team, is used to assess children’s language skills.

Listen to the podcast here.

Follow Dr West on Twitter for more information about NELI.

At a time when we should be celebrating the success of our teacher education programmes in preparing high-quality teachers who have been able to adapt nimbly and expertly to the demands of the pandemic, the Government’s ITT Market Review report (Initial teacher training (ITT) market review) instead threatens the future viability of programmes such as the Oxford PGCE.

Today the government published the report of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review. The University of Oxford, which has an international reputation for the quality of its teacher education (PGCE) programme and which has consistently been awarded the highest ratings by Ofsted, has serious concerns about the recommendations contained in the report. There is little indication as to why this review was deemed necessary (when all existing ITT providers are rated by Ofsted as being either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’) and the report threatens to undermine the very basis on which the Oxford PGCE operates.

The call for consistency across ITT programmes nationally has led to a set of recommendations which will impose control over every aspect of initial teacher education, resulting in:

  • a curriculum which will need to be aligned totally to the government’s ITT Core Content Framework;
  • increased prescription as to how the teacher education programme is structured and delivered;
  • prescribed approaches to assessment; a national ‘delivery’ model that appears not to allow for the continuation of high-quality local partnerships such as the Oxford PGCE; and
  • requirements for the school-based aspects of the programme which will have significant resource implications.

The recommendations also raise questions as to what degree of academic freedom a university will have within such a model, and the extent to which it can continue to plan and deliver a programme in close collaboration with its local school partners. Like many other teacher education programmes nationally, the Oxford PGCE works closely with local schools to meet both the schools’ needs and those of the teaching profession more widely.  Breaking long-established, close links with schools across our partnership threatens our ability to achieve those two purposes.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Michelle Meadows to the post of Associate Professor of Educational Assessment.

Michelle joins us from Ofqual where she is currently Deputy Chief Regulator and Executive Director for Strategy Risk and Research. She will take up her post at the department in conjunction with a Fellowship at Green Templeton College from 13th September 2021 and we very much look forward to welcoming her then.

Michelle has a PhD in psychology from the University of Manchester and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow here at the department. Her research on educational assessment has had a great deal of impact. Her research interests include policy making, standard setting and quality of marking. She has also researched the wash back effects of qualification design on teaching and learning. Michelle has published widely, given evidence to many parliamentary Select Committee hearings and her public engagement work includes appearances on BBC News, Radio 4’s Today Programme and Good Morning Britain. Prior to joining Ofqual Michelle was Director of AQA’s Centre for Educational Research and Practice and was a member of AQA’s Executive Board. She is currently collaborating on research projects with colleagues from OUCEA and we look forward to her continuing this work when she joins.

A significant, new research programme will investigate factors linked to the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced young people during two transition periods: moving from primary to secondary school and moving from adolescence into adulthood.

The new research, announced this week, led by Dr Lisa Holmes and Dr Rachel Hiller (Department of Psychology, University of Bath) will look at the impact of transitions for care-experienced young people.

The four-year programme is led by an interdisciplinary team from the universities of Oxford and Bath, in collaboration with colleagues at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol. £2.2 million for this project has been funded directly by UKRI, with the remaining coming from the universities involved.

The programme aims to identify key processes linked to the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced young people, with a specific focus on psychological process and the role of support systems and services, to identify targets for future intervention and prevention programmes. The work will be supported by Adoption UK and Coram Voice, as well as three panels of care-experienced young people.

By involving young people with direct experience of foster care, residential care and/or adoption, the researchers want to develop a deeper understanding about individuals’ pre-care experiences (ie. challenges they faced before coming into care), their experiences in care and at school, as well as how individuals see themselves and others, and manage their emotions.

One in 30 UK children are taken into care at some point before their 18th birthday. Many of these young people have experienced abuse, neglect, and other difficulties. Once in care, they are often separated from siblings and live with multiple carers, and this ongoing instability can compound their early experiences and have long-term consequences.

This topic addresses a pressing issue for practitioners and policymakers. The research team hope that their findings will lead to improved understanding of the needs of care-experienced young people, and improved outcomes, alongside more practical support for social workers, teachers, mental health professionals, adoptive parents and foster carers supporting these young people.

Dr Lisa Holmes added: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding and we firmly believe that the research programme will facilitate the development of an evidence base to move beyond stating the problem. We will focus on mechanisms, and in particular those that are potentially malleable for earlier interventions.

“Ultimately, this is not only about building resilience among care-experienced young people but also building more resilient systems and services to support them. In the long-term we hope that this work will help to positively impact policy and practice.”

Dr Rachel Hiller (Co-Principal Investigator) explained: “We know that care-experienced young people have very high rates of mental health difficulties and, if left unaddressed, that this can have lifelong consequences for their wellbeing. We don’t want to accept poor outcomes as an inevitable part of being care-experienced. Care-experienced young people deserve high quality research on how we can better support their needs.”

The research will use existing national data from approximately 14,000 care-experienced young people and will also include new longitudinal studies, involving 600 young people aged between 10-18, their carer(s), adoptive parent(s) and/or social workers.

Sue Armstrong Brown, Adoption UK’s CEO said: “The number of adopted young people seeking help for their mental health is rising. We know that trauma suffered in early childhood has lasting impacts on wellbeing, especially during tricky times like the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This research will help us develop a deep understanding of the challenges these young people face, and the things we can do to give them an equal chance to thrive.”

Linda Briheim from Coram Voice added: “Understanding how transitions impact on children in care and care leavers mental health and well-being and how they can be best supported to deal with these changes is incredibly important. Coram Voice are excited to be part of a research programme that explores these issues.

“As a charity committed to giving children and young people a voice in their care, Coram Voice are delighted to be facilitating young people’s panels with children in care and care leavers to co-produce the research. This will ensure the research is grounded in their experience and can identify solutions that can truly make a difference to their lives.”

Leon Feinstein

I am delighted to chair the evidence group for Josh MacAlister’s review of the care system, described by the Secretary of State who launched it as a “wide-ranging, independent review to address poor outcomes for children in care as well as strengthening families to improve vulnerable children’s lives.”

Josh MacAlister and the review team published their opening position on Thursday 17th June, a statement on the case for change.

The review has heavy billing, not least as the level of government borrowing is higher now than when a previous Conservative chancellor demanded austerity. The current administration may be more inclined to spend but will they spend on children outside of universal services?

The review is also in the shadow of the recent review of the system in Scotland, which was much longer, was evidently led by those with experience of care, and reported into a devolved administration that has a clear articulation of its commitment to deliver the rights of children.

The pressure is certainly on. The case for change sets out Josh’s interpretation and that of the review team of what they have heard so far, in listening to and reading the evidence of personal testimony, academic research, expert views and from responses submitted to the review. From this, the case for change indicates where the review team think the system needs to change.

It is very welcome that the review is publishing the case for change so that everyone with an interest knows where the review will focus and is able to respond on the more specific issues. I know that Josh and the team are very open to all responses on these questions and I know that they are listening. People can respond here.

There are two old cliches about how those outside positions of power in government might best engage in the business of government. One cliché is the lift test, “what do you do if you find yourself in a lift with a senior figure?” How to cut through, what to say, how to be heard? The second cliche concerns a train leaving the station. You don’t get to decide when the train runs, your choice is whether to ride the train.

The Evidence Group is one of three groups providing support to the review. Of particular importance is the Experts by Experience Board, there to ensure a voice in the review for those who have had a social worker (either themselves or a child in their care). The Design Group will help guide how the review designs its recommendations.

In my work I have tried to bring good evidence to bear on policy and practice and help ensure it is used meaningfully and accurately. To do this we need a clear idea about what we mean by good evidence, by what counts as evidence, for who, about what, applied how? We might call this an episteme, a framework of agreement about what counts as knowledge and how it should be interpreted, which allows us to settle on truths or at least determine what we mean by truthfulness, in how we answer research questions intended to inform decisions.

As chair of the evidence group, I can say that the review team have had access to a great deal of high quality evidence of multiple sorts on multiple questions. In the time available Josh and the team have made their interpretation of what it says about what should change in the care system, focusing particularly on the side of problems and issues requiring attention, rather than the many daily successes and positive outcomes that make up so much of existing practice and experience.

The members of the evidence group appointed by the review have submitted their views on the review team’s reading of the evidence and on the team’s interpretation and representations of it. Ultimately the case for change is not primarily an evidentiary paper in the sense of being set up as a research or science project with a clear technical methodology to address a narrow scientific or social scientific question. It isn’t subject to formal peer review and approval in the way that a National Statistic or an academic paper might be. Neither I nor the other group members get to sign off the document. It is ultimately the view of Josh and his team and that is in part what is meant by an independent review. Another reviewer might have looked at the evidence differently and made a different case or called for different changes.

I hope it leads to a fruitful discussion. For what it is worth I think the field suffers from a lack of agreement about what counts as good evidence. Because of the nature of the evidence as yet available and the diversity of views on it, many of the issues in the case for change are subject to considerable uncertainty and disagreement so it is likely that debate will continue.

I don’t think the question of the appropriate balance between statutory care of children and wider support to families is resolved by the evidence available, nor do we know enough in aggregate about what structures best help people provide the right supports to which groups of children at the right times. I agree it is good to have a debate about these things. The available evidence can inform and there will be more evidence gathering in the next stages of the review.

I hope that the review goes on to make valuable and effective recommendations that address many of the issues and challenges raised in evidence to the review and that these lead to real improvements to the experiences of children, families and care experienced people. I hope that the review is able to address the clear call from those with care experience to be heard, not just in the review, but in perpetuity. Finally, I hope the review addresses the need to improve knowledge and understanding both in terms of about how the care system might be improved but also in helping the public and hence government recognise the work of and hear the voices of care experienced people, children, social workers, carers, directors of children’s services and others who are too often drowned out of the public debate.

We will all have differing views on all of this. I hope we will have more blogs in the weeks ahead.

Read more about the case here.

Xin XU, Research Fellow, Centre for Global Higher Education writing in The times Higher Education supplement today asks “What does the rise of Asia mean for global higher education?”



Global education leaders discussed new or emerging approaches, methods, and systems in education at the Yidan Prize Conference Series: Europe 2021 in partnership with University of Oxford

28 May 2021, London – The European session of The Yidan Prize Conference Series, was hosted by the Yidan Prize Foundation in partnership with University of Oxford’s Department of Education on 28 May. The virtual conference saw leaders in education and researchers from Yidan Prize Foundation, UNESCO, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and Fundación Escuela Nueva (FEN) discuss the theme of ‘What is Innovation in Education?’. As part of the Conference Series, the Foundation also held its first International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference on 27 May in support of the new generation of education researchers.

With the global learning landscape gradually emerging from the pandemic that disrupted the education of 90% of students worldwide, the conference considered what the longer-term future of education could and should look like. It commenced with an insight session from Dr Sobhi Tawil, Director, Future Learning and Innovation at UNESCO.

Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of the Yidan Prize commented: “The Yidan Prize recognises the most innovative research and practices in education. In the past year, we have seen many agile and innovative educational solutions sparked by the challenging circumstances of the pandemic. This is what we seek to find and celebrate, bringing together brilliant minds to create a better world through education.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford commented, “We are delighted to work with the Yidan Prize Foundation in organizing this important conference. Dr Charles CHEN Yidan is committed to the advancement of education as a means of improving all our lives. He and his colleagues have been at the forefront of recognising, supporting and rewarding leaders in the field of education and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so in the years to come.”

How motivation in classrooms affects behaviour

In the first panel on how motivation affects behaviour in education, speakers considered strategies to dismantle barriers to engagement, the role that exclusion plays and how to create more inclusive education systems that work for all students. Speakers included:

  • Ms Lucy Lake, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020; Chief Executive Officer, CAMFED
  • Ms Angeline Murimirwa, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020; Executive Director – Africa, CAMFED
  • Ms Vicky Colbert, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2017; FEN
  • Professor Harry Daniels, Professor of Education, Department of Education, University of Oxford

The panel shared evidence and insights from their own research and programmes looking at how to create cultures of participation and belonging, how to boost academic self-esteem and the role that each of these strategies can play in improving attendance, motivation and performance. In addition, the panel outlined their experiences of using the insights of excluded and marginalised young people to help inform future, more inclusive education research and interventions.

Scientific approach to improving teaching outcomes

The second panel discussion focused on innovation in education from a scientific perspective. A panel of global education research experts considered the need to root future education innovations in evidence-based research. The panel explored science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and how a scientific approach can improve teaching outcomes. Speakers included:

  • Professor Carl Wieman, Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2020; Professor of Physics and Graduate School of Education and DRC Chair, Stanford University
  • Professor Larry Hedges, Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2018; Chairman, Department of Statistics, Northwestern University
  • Professor Thomas Kane, Member of the Yidan Council of Luminaries; Walter H. Gale Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Professor Sibel Eruduran, Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford

The panel argued for a need for a new model of learning and teaching for better learning outcomes. Teachers needs to be better supported with the tools needed to develop new and evidenced based teaching practices. The panel also outlined a future in which STEM knowledge accumulation for assessment is replaced with an emphasis on authentic problem-solving more useful to future generations in terms of their ability to solve complex, real world problems.

In line with Yidan Prize Foundation’s commitment to foster rising talents in education research, it hosted its first International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference. The conference looked at the future of education and what skills young people need in order to pursue challenges they face. During the conference, doctoral students heard from Dr Rebecca Eynon, Professor of Education, the Internet and Society at the University of Oxford, about the datafication of education in the future. They also heard from Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa about how CAMFED address the intersectionality of education, inequality, and technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Yidan Prize Foundation and University of Oxford review panel selected five doctoral students with the best papers as winners who will be invited to join the Yidan Prize Summit and Awards Presentation Ceremony in Hong Kong in December. They are: McQueen Sum (University of Oxford), Junping Cui (University College London), Lydia Lymperis (Newcastle University), Aneyn O’Grady (University of Oxford) and Ziyun Deng (Harvard University).

In addition, they winners will be invited to an exclusive meeting with the 2021 Yidan Prize laureates. Conference papers will be printed in an inaugural volume of a series of annual proceedings from the Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference.

Leading educators and researchers speaking at the Yidan Prize Conference Series: Europe 2021

From top left to bottom right:

Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Yidan Prize Foundation; Dr Sobhi Tawil, UNESCO; Professor Louise Richardson, University of Oxford ; Professor Jo-Anne Baird, University of Oxford; Ms Vicky Colbert, FEN; Professor Harry Daniels, University of Oxford; Professor Sibel Erduran, University of Oxford; Professor Larry Hedges, Northwestern University; Professor Thomas Kane, Harvard University; Dr Susan James Relly, University of Oxford; Ms Lucy Lake, CAMFED; Ms Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED; Professor Carl Wieman, Stanford University

Marginalised Communities in Higher Education
Disadvantage, Mobility and Indigeneity

Edited By : Neil Harrison and Graeme Atherton


Drawing on examples from nine countries across five continents, this book offers anyone interested in the future of higher education the opportunity to understand how communities become marginalised and how this impacts on their access to learning and their ability to thrive as students.

Focusing on groups that suffer directly through discriminatory practices or indirectly through distinct forms of sociocultural disadvantage, this book brings to light communities about which little has been written and where research efforts are in their relative infancy. Each chapter documents the experiences of a group and provides insights that have a wider reach and gives voice to those that are often unheard. The book concludes with a new conceptualisation of the social forces that lead to marginalisation in higher education.

This cutting-edge book is a must read for higher education researchers, policy makers, and students interested in access to education, sociology of education, development studies, and cultural studies.

The book can be pre-ordered here